Water can relieve the stress on joints and muscles and open up a new world of physical activities.
For parks, recreation and culture lifeguards and instructors Janice Battie and Kristy Amos, getting people into the water and having fun is all in a day’s work. It just so happens that it also coincides with helping people live more active lives.
Battie works at the Beban Park Recreation Centre and has been an instructor for 18 years. She teaches swimming lessons, therapy classes and senior aquacise classes.
As a teenager she was a competitive swimmer and wanted to introduce others to the sport she loves. She started as a lifeguard, saying it was a natural progression to continue on and become an instructor.
Battie particularly enjoys teaching lessons to children and watching them enjoy an activity she excelled at during her youth.
“I love working with kids,” she said.
On the other end of the spectrum, she helps people in their golden years remain active and fit. Her therapy and aquacise classes help strengthen core muscles and improve balance.
Battie said some seniors in her class get excited when they realize that they can do activities in the water they never could on land. Buoyancy created by the water allows people to participate in a variety of activities.
“Some people can jog in the water, but they can’t do that on land,” she said. “It’s really beneficial for them.”
Battie’s passion during the day is ensuring seniors are motivated by focusing on positive aspects, as some seniors aren’t as comfortable in the pool.
However, when they realize they don’t have to swim to take many of the classes, it helps ease their minds.
Amos works at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre and has been a lifeguard and instructor for more than three years. She tries to ensure that everyone in her classes arrives with a smile and leaves with a smile.
“I love going into work. In my job you get to help people feel better about themselves and improve their lifestyle,” she said.
Amos teaches a variety of classes including a drop-in fitness class on Sundays. For the past two years the core group of participants has remained the same and it’s nice to show up and see the familiar faces.
She said exercise keeps people healthy and strong, and water exercises are great for people with arthritis or joint issues.
For more information about parks, recreation and culture programs, please go to www.nanaimo.ca.